Your day crew today is the same as yesterday:
- Driver: Bob Conrad
- Navigator: Luis Ramos
- Chef/Mechanic: Mike Perron
According to Luis, with whom I just spoke: "He's doing great. Everything looks good and Rob's in great spirits, riding great."
Rob went through TS 16 at 9:26 EDT, almost exactly three hours after Mark Pattinson. As of this writing, Matthew Warner-Smith has not checked into TS 16, so this may be a day where Rob puts some real estate between himself and fifth place.
Make no mistake - there is some serious climbing ahead today, with which Rob is very familiar.
This year's RAAM course is slightly different than the 2008 race - Rob's last RAAM. The section of the race that he is riding right now retraces some of the more infamous mountain passes of the 1996 and 1997 RAAM races that Rob did. These include Wolfcreek Pass, La Veta Pass and Cuchara Pass. All of them are really, really long and steep.
Rob and I talked about it a couple of days before the race and he said he was looking forward to "visiting his old stomping grounds."
Even after he was in the hospital for five hours in 1997, he got back on his bike and rode up those climbs as fast as any other competitor in the race.
It will be fun to see how he does today. And believe it or not, after today, the big hills are done. Until West Virginia. (And those are even steeper.)